Reporters on the Job

TAKE A SOMALI TO WORK DAY: The Monitor's Danna Harman was stymied in her attempts to visit a refugee camp in Kenya on the border with Somalia that some say is a breeding ground for Islamic militants (page 1). "I've been there before, but since the Mombasa bombing, they're limiting journalist access," she says. But Danna pushed ahead, finding people who had just left the camp arriving in Nairobi. "There's a section of the Kenyan capital that feels just like Somalia. Everyone speaks Somali. They use Somalian shillings. And the shops and cafes have Arab names. I went twice but no one would talk to me, I guess because I was a woman alone, or because I was an outsider. So, I went a third time with a Somali friend, and got much better access and information."

WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE: Having reported last month on the secretive process leading to a change in leadership in China, the Monitor's Bob Marquand was struck by how much easier it is for a journalist to cover the Korean presidential elections (this page). "You can learn as much or more about what's going on here in half a day as you could in two days of reporting in Beijing. Here, you can wake up and read four or five newspapers with contrasting points of view, watch a debate on TV, interview voters and protesters in the street, and talk to a nongovernmental organization that opposes the government - all before lunch."

In Beijing, most people were scarcely aware of the leadership change. In Seoul, the chaos and color of the political campaign is everywhere. "Don't misunderstand me. China is changing. But the re-immersion into a quasi-Western democratic process, in Asia, was striking."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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